CT to Implement Statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Following a $1.3 million grant from CMS, Connecticut pharmacies across the state will now be able to query its statewide prescription drug monitoring program.

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection’s Drug Control Division announced a statewide EHR integration of its prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) after receiving $1.3 million in funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Connecticut will leverage Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway solution and integrate it in all pharmacy EHRs across the state. CMS funding will give free solution services to Connecticut providers for two years.

Roughly 75 percent of Connecticut providers are currently leveraging the solution, and clinicians queried the system nearly 20 million times in 2020.

“This type of integration is critical to ensuring that our medical providers can spend more time with patients who need them most,” Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said in a statement.

“We’ve learned time and time again that technology can aid not just in moving processes online, but can support us in spending more time with those who need us in person – and that’s what this is about. The prescription monitoring program is one of the many tools that helps us fight the opioid crisis, and stop addiction before it starts, and this integration will allow our providers to do that even faster,” Lamont continued.

Experts say PDMPs improve prescribing practices, target treatment to at-risk patients, and mitigate the risk of potential abuse or fraud by patients who obtain prescriptions from multiple providers. Providers can review the data before prescribing opioids to intervene if there are signs of drug misuse or abuse.

“The data collected in the PMP has proved to be a valuable resource for healthcare providers, pharmacists and Connecticut patients,” said Michelle Seagull, consumer commissioner. “By offering increased PMP Gateway access, we are able to directly provide prescribers an even easier way to access and report data and develop care plans for their patients.”

Connecticut providers without the integrated solution utilized separate systems to access patient information, resulting in administrative burden and fragmentation. An EHR-integrated PDMP system can mitigate the strenuous process of checking the PDMP, thus reducing clinician burnout and cognitive workload.

“A direct connection to the Connecticut Prescription Monitoring Program will greatly enhance compliance to access this multi-state database,” said Steven Wolf, MD, chair of Saint Francis Hospital emergency department.

“Presently, most providers have to go through several steps to find a patient in the system, which ends up being considerably time consuming,” Wolf explained. “With a direct connection to electronic medical records, we will now be able to expedite the process of finding a patient’s information with just a click of a button. Thanks to this access, we will be able to provide comprehensive patient care in an even more timely manner.”

The integration also includes a separate tool, NarxCare, which leaders said can identify, manage, and streamline patient prescription drug risk to further aid prescribing practices.

“The best way to treat opioid misuse is to prevent it from starting,” said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “By giving practitioners tools like this to streamline and expedite access to a patient’s complete medical picture, we have a chance to halt addiction before it starts and get support and help to patients who need it. This marks a hopeful step forward in our fight against this opioid crisis.”

The solution can also tap into 39 statewide PDMPs, the Veterans Administration System, and systems in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The multi-state query system helps prescribers identify “doctor shopping”  – the practice of patients going from one clinician to the next to obtain a prescription opioid  – and decreases the chances of dangerous drug prescribing.

Nearly 8,000 users access PMP Gateway to issue over 16 million controlled substance prescriptions.

“The value of access to a patient’s medication history at point of care cannot be overstated,” concluded Vicki Veltri, executive director of Connecticut Office of Health Strategy. “This is a good example of how the state can utilize federal funding to further interoperability to make it easier for providers to access medication information critical to ensuring better health outcomes for the people of Connecticut.”

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